Smoke blankets the Grafton Bridge earlier this month. There are some simple ways to reduce the health risks of smoke inhalation.
Smoke blankets the Grafton Bridge earlier this month. There are some simple ways to reduce the health risks of smoke inhalation. Caitlan Charles

Advice to help you smoke out the problem

THE fire season has hit the ground running in the Clarence Valley with its early start which doesn't bide well for the traditional trouble-causing months ahead.

While bush fires are inherently dangerous and destructive, the smoke they produce can be just as lethal, even if the blaze seems miles away.

The effects of smoke inhalation from bush fires and hazard reduction burns varies person to person but it doesn't hurt to be vigilant especially in an area like the Clarence Valley where residents are accustomed to living in enviable climate and breathing in clean fresh air most days.

NSW Health reminds people that children, older adults and people with heart and lung conditions are most susceptible to the effects of air pollution and excessive smoke.

If you have asthma or a lung condition, reduce outdoor activities if smoke levels are high and if shortness of breath or coughing develops, take your reliever medicine or seek medical advice.

Asthma sufferers need to follow their Asthma Action Plan and take their relieving medication where necessary. If symptoms get worse, asthma sufferers need to seek medical advice. Further advice is available from the Asthma Foundation website.

NSW RFS advise residents can take the following health precautions to reduce the impact of smoke:

  • Where possible, stay indoors, with windows and doors closed.
  • Use your air-conditioner if you have one. If not, consider staying with a friend if things get worse.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise, especially if you have asthma or a lung condition.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a mask designed to filter fine particles. Use a mask rated either P1 or P2. These are available from hardware stores. P2 masks are more effective in blocking the finest particles, however any mask has to be worn correctly over the nose and mouth to protect you.

Other tips:

  • Ensure pets have a protected area to sleep and eat.
  • If you are driving through a smoky area, slow down, keep your windows up and turn your headlights on.
  • Don't call Triple Zero just to report that it is smoky. Save Triple Zero for emergencies.

For more information regarding bush fire activity, use the Fires Near Me app.

Monitor the NSW RFS hazard reduction page for information about planned burns and smoke advisories in your area.



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